Final paper – Applying My Ideas to Enron

I want to use this as an opportunity to elaborate on some thoughts I’ve had regarding my final paper. Obviously we have spent a lot of time talking about Enron as an organization, and I think that the three themes I am covering in my paper can definitely be applied to Enron. First, I’ll recap what my paper topic is. I want to explore the idea that certain laws govern organizations. Continue reading

Right and Wrong

       In “Homecoming” there was a definite breaking of American law.  Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell, Marlo Stanfield, and others were participating in drug trading and assault. To all intents and purposes, what they did was illegal and un-American. Although they operated a drug trade business, few legitimate businesses would operate under the same terms as them. Nonetheless, there are situations that present themselves to these legitimate organizations that are not necessarily clear cut right or wrong. How do these organizations go about deciding when it is ok to participate in perhaps questionable business– when it is ok to slightly step over the line of the law? I’ve decided to turn a discussion of two different ethical theories to find method for organizations to determine when it is ok to participate in “risky business.”

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No One Raindrop thinks it Caused the Flood

After reading about Enron, I wondered a lot about the social phenomenon known as Diffusion of Responsibility. This phenomenon takes places when any one individual feels he does not bare the burden of responsibility because there are many others present that can instead. When an event occurs that requires a response, the individual assumes that someone else will or already has taken care of it, and therefore he does not need to do anything. Had the individual been alone, he would never have allowed the event to occur.

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Enron = normal … accident, that is.

Enron = normal … accident, that is.

A normal accident implies that given an organization, various unpredicted failures will occur.  As we see in Organizations and Organizing, “it is virtually impossible to predict and protect against all the ways in which such systems can fail.”  This term poses a lot of debate, because it is hard for many people to accept that failure is inevitable.  Although many organizations try to prevent any problems through extensive training and simulation, I believe there is no way to possibly account for anything and everything. It’s important that accidents and failures are studied so that most of the glitches can be worked out, but there will always be times when a failure will have to be accepted.  The question is, is Enron a failure we have to accept? Meaning, is it appropriate to say parts of Enron were a normal accident? I believe they were. Continue reading

Organizational Learning

Article Title: “Different Truths in Different Worlds”, 2008 By: Kent D. Miller and Shu-Jou Lin

The basis of this article rests upon dispelling the common notion that organizations are simply a product of their environment.  Through a constructivist ontology that assumes malleability of the organization’s environment, Miller and Lin argue that organizations, based on the epistemology of the individuals associated with the organization, are able to in varying ways shape their environments and consequently their performance.  Continue reading

The Power of People: Who’s in Control?

In Andrew Pettigrew’s Handbook of Strategy and Management, chapter 11 titled, Top Management, Company Directors and Corporate Control, lays out the various influences that key stakeholders have within a corporation. In this viewpoint, these stakeholders include internal executives, managers, low-level employees, and the external stakeholders of a corporation, including analysts, critics, and investors. To begin, the chapter ask several questions, summed up to define: How much influence does Corporate Governance have on the resulting success or failure of a company and who actually provides the direction for this outcome? Continue reading

Exploration and Exploitation

In his article Exploration and Exploitation, James March stresses the importance of balance between the two.  An organization with exploration and limited exploitation suffers the cost of experimentation without gaining many of its benefits. The company will have too many underdeveloped ideas and too little distinctive competence. And vice versa, an organization that focuses on exploitation without exploration will be trapped in an inferior state of equilibrium. Finding the perfect equilibrium is difficult but essential to survival.

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